Feel It All

I’m generally not a person who takes long to process. When something happens that requires action, I respond. It may not always be the best response but no grass grows under my feet. 

When Matthew was told he most likely has MS, I couldn’t act. I’ve always referred to this as feeling paralyzed until a friend opened my eyes to the idea that choosing to not act is an act itself and I guess that’s what I did. I didn’t force anything or immerse myself in research. I felt the heaviness of waiting like I was watching a weather forecast predicting a natural disaster, wondering if it would hit us. It felt (and still feels) too big. I know that you can only eat an elephant one bite at a time but what if you have no idea what the elephant looks like? What if the elephant is actually a whale or a planet?

For the first 4 days I waited. Waited for the neurologist, waited for a sign, waited for a direction. I alternated between crying and dissociating (a sometimes handy remnant from my traumatic childhood). We told no one and tried to wrap our minds around it. When I visualize wrapping my mind around something I picture my brain stretching like Play Doh to enfold all possibilities. This could be a mistake, it doesn’t have to progress, this is the end of life as we know it. 

My stepmom was the first person we told. I was texting with her about our family vacation plans and I told Matthew, “I think we need to tell her.” There was hesitation because once you say it out loud to another human being it makes it real. I want to give answers, strategies, solutions. It’s one thing to feel helpless inside of a situation but it’s another to subject your loved ones to that helplessness. I struggled between wanting support and wanting more time to not put a happy face on the whole thing. Yes, we are optimistic and positive. Things could always be worse. But let’s be real. Things could always get worse too. I needed space for that reality. I’m a person who looks for silver linings but I’m also a person who needs to feel it all.

A couple of days ago I felt an overwhelming need to sleep. It was like I had taken a bite out of the poisoned apple and nothing could keep me from closing my eyes. I laid on the couch, TV blaring, kids laughing, kitten attacking, and fell into a deep, dreamless sleep. No amount of chaos could wake me. I sprung up two hours later answering a question my daughter asked, never consciously hearing the question. One moment I was comatose on the couch and the next I was sitting up, conversing like I had never been asleep. 

Years ago, before I began to recover from complex PTSD, I would be sick for days when I was trying to grapple with emotions. I would be physically ill from it. I didn’t know how to be in my body, to recognize when I needed rest or needed to cry. I just buried it all until my body was sick of my excuses. (I highly recommend reading The Body Keeps the Score: Brain, Mind, and Body in the Healing of Trauma by Bessel van der Kolk) 

Now, I take naps. I do yoga. I take extra long showers so that I can ugly cry. I text and email with my girlfriends. I journal. I nourish my body. Lately, I cuddle with our kitten and meditate to his purr. And, now I’m blogging again. It helps me process. I’m like a detective going back to a crime scene looking for patterns and evidence missed.

We met with Matthew’s neurologist last week and got a sense of the road ahead. I’m comforted by the fact that the future is not written in stone. And, either way, we’re damn good sculptors. There’s a Templeton Thompson song that I love and it’s my mantra right now. I used to wait for the other shoe to drop because in my experience it always did. But, also in my experience, I have been cared for and carried. I have the tools to go down this road. And, I have survived.

4 thoughts on “Feel It All

  1. I have that very book on my coffee table. You’re putting into action all your tools – good for you! I can’t imagine what you’re going through, but my heart is with you. Your whole family.

    Like

      1. The irony about that book is during my hypnosis healing sessions I’ve delved into things like why my shoulder froze or why I had gastric reflux and other physical issues, and what came up related to things I’d experienced in life when I was very little.

        Liked by 1 person

I'd love to hear what you have to say.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s